Category Archives: Crime

Illegal Dumping in Albemarle

Yesterday and today, Annie Johnson has had a trio of articles [1,2,3] in the Daily Progress on the topic of illegal dumping.

The materials being dumped tend to be large objects that need to be taken to the Ivy Landfill. But the high costs of the tipping fees ($66/ton for construction debris; compare to an average of $40.32/ton in the rest of the state) seem to be deterring people, leaving landowners footing the cleanup bill when they discover washing machines and couches in their stream. Very rarely do people get caught, and it’s not altogether clear of what the solution is.

I’ve had a gnarly old mattress sitting in a spare bedroom for the past eight months. After all, it’s a long drive to the Ivy Landfill. If I were just a slightly less-decent individual, I can see how that mattress would be neither here nor at the landfill.

DMV Guard vs. Unruly Customer

Check out Liesel Nowak’s crazy story about the DMV guard and the unruly customer in today’s Daily Progress. Pepper spray was unleashed, a gun was drawn, there was a standoff, blood was spilled…it was a bad scene. The only side of the story that the Progress got was the customer’s. Presumably, this will get even weirder once the guard’s side of things come out.

Waynesboro Murder Ends in Suicide

Yesterday was a day of high drama for our neighbors to the west, after a Waynesboro man killed his in-laws, fled, holed himself up, and committed suicide as a tactical team closed in on him. The the News-Virginian, who followed the story throughout, reports that that Michael Lawson, aged 48, killed the grandfather and mother of his estranged wife, whose bodies were found Tuesday morning. Over fifty officers tried unsuccessfully to hunt down Lawson (described by friends as an Eric Rudolph-like survivalist) over the course of the day, only locating him at 1:30am when an acquaintance reported to police that Lawson had come by his house. Using K-9 units and thermal imaging equipment, he was finally tracked down. As a team closed in on him, just before daybreak, he shot himself in the head, killing himself.

The whole event is similar to the 2001 coal tower killings [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], with the notable exception that Craig Nordenson didn’t kill himself.

Camblos Refuses to Charge in Covesville Attack

A couple of weeks ago, Edward and Angela Bourne, of Buckingham County, were driving south on Rt. 29 when their car was surrounded by six speeding vehicles. The Bournes were forced off the road, and a man from one car attacked Angela Bourne. Her husband defended her, for which he was bludgeoned. His wife then tried to help him, and she was held and restrained by another man. Finally, all the men left, and the Bournes were taken to the hospital.

Any number of laws were broken here, but Albemarle Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Camblos says he’s not going to press charges. Why? The attacker is from Maryland, and extradition requires a felony — Camblos says that the only one crime was committed (assault and battery), and it was just a misdemeanor, and, hey, what are the odds that a guy from Maryland might ever cross the border again?

The Bournes are furious, and don’t understand how it is that this is allowed to happen. Typing in “Camblos” in the site search reminded me of why I’m not surprised — this is par for the course for Camblos. Remember in the 1998, when a grandmother and her two grandchildren were killed in an auto accident on 29 when a woman drove clear across the vast, wooded median strip and collided with their car head-on? There were neither charges nor an investigation, after Camblos refused to permit it. Remember the murder of Osama Hassan at the Shell Station on Ivy Road in 1998? Charges had to be dropped against Dylan Tyree in that case after Camblos mishandled the submission of evidence to the courts. Remember the three police officers who shot and killed a pitchfork-wielding mentally ill man in 2001? Camblos exonerated them. Remember the involuntary manslaughter trial of a UVa professor in 2003? Camblos didn’t subpoena a key witness, and charges had to be dropped. Remember the 2003-4 story of Deputy Stephen Shifflett, who claimed to have been shot by a black man, going so far as to arrest two guys, but turned out to have shot himself? Camblos refused to charge him with anything, got called on it by the Progress, and then claimed that he’d been investigating it all along; Judge Peatross had to intervene.

Call me crazy, but I’m seeing a pattern here. While the Bournes might be surprised by Camblos’ bizarre refusal to place charges, it strikes me as about right for the guy.

Reed Williams has the story in today’s Progress.

So, Who Hit Whom?

In today’s Progress, John Yellig writes:

An Albemarle County police cruiser collided Tuesday with a Hyundai Elantra and a Honda Civic at the intersection of East Rio Road and Hillsdale Drive.


When the cruiser, driven by a female officer, turned left from Rio to head south on Hillsdale, it struck the eastbound Elantra, said Mary Shifflett and Lewalta Haney, both of Louisa.

After striking the Elantra, witnesses said, the cruiser hit the Civic, which was waiting at the Hillsdale stoplight to turn west onto Rio Road. Damage there appeared minor.


The police officer was conscious after the accident, as witnesses said they saw her make a phone call immediately afterward. She was loaded into an ambulance on a stretcher and driven away to an unnamed hospital.

Police on the scene declined to speak to the press.

(Emphasis mine.)

OK, so a police car accidentally collided with two cars, and then the police wouldn’t talk to the media. That’s understandable, though — they hadn’t had a chance to talk with their just-injured officer, and no doubt an investigation will be in order. The really unfortunate bit is the side story of the girl who was hit — she got her license mere days previously, her car just one day previously, she was apparently doing nothing wrong and then, bam, she’s in an accident.

So, it’s a straightforward story — police officer’s car strikes two citizens’ cars.

Then we have WINA’s story today:

An Albemarle Officer’s Vehicle is Struck on East Rio

An Albemarle police officer is recuperating from a Tuesday night accident. Officer Caroline Morris was attempted to pull over a motorist for a traffic violation at the intersection of East Rio Road and Hillsdale Drive. While she was making a left hand turn, her vehicle was struck by a 1994 Hyundai. The Hyundai was driven by a 17-year-old Charlottesville motorist. This incident also involved a third vehicle, which was driven by a Fluvanna County resident. Officer Morris was transported to the University of Virginia Hospital. Her injuries were NOT life-threatening.

Again, emphasis mine.

It’s rare that two local media outlets run conflicting stories — something’s wrong here. Are the police now contradicting the witnesses? Or has WINA gotten the story wrong? There’s a story to this story — I’m just not sure what it is.